I am an experience designer and strategist 
fostering dialogue between technology and people.

iOS - Stereopublic Crowsourced Quiet Spaces

Stereopublic is a particularly elegant crowdsourcing platform that seeks to map the locations of quiet spaces in cities around the world. The goal is to help us become better aware of the invasive noises that surround us and their effect on our being. The app is gorgeous and the following video presents a calm, insightful manifesto. I'm a member. 

"My name is Jason Sweeney. Stereopublic is a participatory art project that asks members of the public to go into their cities and find quiet places. I think about this project as a sonic health service for built environments; really encouraging people to think about how they listen in cities and to think about their own hearing, or hearing loss. How has the decibel levels, the frequency levels of traffic, and noise in cities affected their own listening?
What are the other ways in which we can look at our actual existing built environment and search for those quiet spaces that might already exist. So, in thinking about this project in terms of crowdsourcing the quiet, to pull people out of the crowd who feel a real passion and dedication to finding these quiet places; to join a community of quiet seekers. To be able to network with these people and share recordings and sounds of these places with other people and to start to see their locations appear on a map. To discover through the use of an iPhone application which will tell you when you're near an alleyway or a library room which is quiet so you can be walking down a busy street and suddenly a Stereopublic notification comes on and you're able to go into that building and experience that sense of quiet that that person who contributed maybe a year ago has chosen as a quiet place."

 

IoT - Tony Tempa from BleepBleeps

BleepBleeps is another iOS app-enabled IoT consumer-directed health play. Their devices masquerade as bright-colored "characters" each purpose-built to address some aspect of childcare from conception through adolescence. Yes, their post-modern design is particularly charming, but what is of great interest here is the go-to-market strategy.

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Heading into crowdfunding soon, BleepBleeps gives you the plans and Bill of Materials to make their first device, Tony Tempa (an ear thermometer) yourself! They say they'll be posting meshes of his case soon. This extremely interesting blend of hacker/maker/DIY/open source meets crowdfunding is purely intentional. Once you engage, the app brings users ever-deeper into the BleepBleeps ecosystem. Brilliant!  

  BleepBleeps Tony Tempa Schematic

R. Buckminster Fuller - Expo '67 Pavilion (1967)

Bucky Ist Über-Nerder. What I wouldn't give to ride these escalators! International expos are unique in their ability to create what feels like another world, separate from the city, country and even time in which they're built. The US Pavilion at Expo '67 in Montreal was a remarkable structure and experience, drawing 9 million visitors.

With origins dating back to 1798, World's Fairs and Expos give nations, religions and corporations a grand, international forum in which to put their best foot forward. The infrastructure created for these massive-scale events reshaped cities. The pavilions heralded the emergence of novel architectural practices and showcased new technologies. They encapsulate the ideas, dreams and ethos of their eras.

Expos have given or introduced us to, for example, Ferris Wheels (Chicago 1893), The Eiffel Tower (Paris 1889), escalators, talking films and diesel engines (Paris 1900), The Palace of Fine Arts (San Francisco 1913), The Barcelona Chair (Barcelona 1929), ad infinitum. They leave behind many landmark buildings, museums, aquariums, etc. 

While they happen only sporadically, (there have been just 17 in the last 43 years), they continue to capture our imaginations. To give you an idea of scope, the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris drew 50 million people.

Similarly. there were over 50 million visitors to Expo '67 in Montreal, more than doubling Canada's 20 million population at the time. Live TV and radio coverage broadcast to a worldwide audience of over 700 million. The master plan budget for the city ballooned to almost $500 million. 

IBM's Atomic Stop Motion

A public outreach by some lonely atomic data storage researchers at IBM, this is an extremely expensive art project whereby atoms are used as "pixels" in a 250-frame short. A playful effort driven by enormously powerful technology. The interference patterns are just beautiful. I actually wish an artist had done something more abstract around that...Hey! That's a good idea!

The "making of" this video, however, is the really interesting part.